Emily Vogt, who helps coordinate the Smoke Free Homes Registry for the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the detailed list of more than 1,200 smoke-free properties has been online since 2016 as a community resource. Vogt says, “The Smoke Free Homes program is a program to promote smoke-free rental housing to renters in Iowa and also to assist property managers and landlords in implementing the smoke-free policy.”
The website is updated with new options so potential renters can learn more about the neighborhood they’re considering.”If they are looking for a smoke-free rental property, they can also see — we’ve recently added to the registry a map view,” Vogt says, “so you can see where the nearby grocery stores are, where the parks are, the transit stops and farmers markets.”
If apartment managers set aside a few individual units in a buiding as non-smoking, Vogt says those units likely won’t be as healthy as renters would hope. “We know that the smoke travels between units,” Vogt says. “The air in a multi-unit building is all being shared among everybody. Somebody down the hall is getting exposure to second-hand smoke if somebody on the floor above them or below them or several units down is smoking.”
To make the registry, a property must have at least one building that is 100-percent smoke-free and must have this specified in the lease language. More than 80% of all Iowans are non-smokers, according to Vogt, and 74-percent of Iowa renters say they would choose to live in a non-smoking building.